A recent report by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) on World Happiness named the United Arab Emirates the Arab world’s happiest country, and ranked the Gulf nation 21st among the world’s happiest. This year’s report included expats, whereas previous surveys focused only on citizens.
Last year, the U.A.E announced the establishment of a happiness ministry.
SDSN took into account per capita gross domestic product, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, social support and absence of corruption in government or business. It surveyed 1,000 people in 150 countries between 2014 and 2016.
The U.A.E. was followed by Qatar (35), Saudi Arabia (37), Kuwait (39), Bahrain (41) and Algeria (53). Egypt ranked number 104 and war-torn Syria at 152.
“Happy countries are the ones that have a healthy balance of prosperity, as conventionally measured, and social capital, meaning a high degree of trust in a society, low inequality and confidence in government,” said Jeffrey Sachs, the director of the SDSN and a special advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General.
The report coincided with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s announcement of a World Happiness Council, which aims to improve global efforts at happiness.
The 13-member council will convene twice a year, with the first meeting held during the Global Dialogue for Happiness at the Dubai World Government Summit last month and the second to take place on the sidelines of the United Nation’s General Assembly meetings in September in New York.